The Drippy Math activity asks students to turn on a cold water faucet in their home so it drips very slowly, and place a bucket under the drip. Students are to set a timer for ½ hour. When the timer rings, students are to turn off the faucet and use a measuring cup to find out how much water was wasted.
The objective of this home activity is for students to realize exactly how much water can be wasted from a dripping faucet. Students will also realize that wasted water means wasted energy.
Calculate: Students are to calculate how much water is wasted if the dripping were to continue for 24 hours, by multiplying the total amount by 48. (Explain to students that you are multiplying by 48 and not 24 because it is only for ½ hour, not a full hour, that the water is dripping, so the amount must be doubled.) Then students will calculate the total amount of water that would be wasted at this rate in a week, a month, and a year.
- Compare students’ calculations and discuss why they may have varied.
- Ask how they think a dripping faucet might waste energy. (It wastes the energy used to pump the water to your house and the energy used to treat it at a treatment plant. Furthermore, hot water leaks waste the energy used to heat the water.)
- Ask students to name some things they do to conserve water at home or in school.
Please note: Encourage students to get parental permission before doing this activity and to water plants indoors or outside with the water that has been collected.